LISC Milwaukee's Leo Ries calls for proactive community problem-solving
In this Journal Sentinel op-ed, LISC Milwaukee executive director Leo Ries discusses the importance of self-reliance in community problem-solving, finding the balance between communitarianism and individual initiative, and the roles of grass-roots efforts and government in community building.
It's time to build up; we all can help
3 Oct 2012 - Leo Ries, Executive Director, LISC Milwaukee
There's a big debate going on about the appropriate role of government in our society. It's the big issue underlying the current presidential election. Do we have too much government in our lives or too little?
As part of this debate, we're even having some high-minded, philosophical discussions about the ideal of "individualism" (i.e. Rep. Paul Ryan's fascination with Ayn Rand) vs. the social teachings of the Catholic Church with its emphasis on "communitarianism," which encourages a focus on the common good, communal relations, shared core values and the individual's responsibility to the greater whole.
Although the political debate tends to emphasize extreme positions, I think most of us tend to live in the "middle space," where we try to find the right balance between our individual self-interest and the well-being of our communities. We know that too much individualism undermines that strength of the whole and too much communitarianism undermines individual initiative.
Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, it seems clear to me that we are entering an era requiring greater self-reliance and initiative on the part of everyone due to resource constraints and increasing global complexity. We instinctively know that solutions to our problems (both individual and collective) are not going to come from business leaders or from big government.
We know that we have to be proactive, entrepreneurial and more self-sufficient about creating a future for ourselves and our communities that will be fulfilling and life-affirming. The idea of self-reliance and initiative is relevant not just for individual business enterprise; it is also relevant in terms of community problem-solving. Continued[+]...
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> Visit the Milwaukee LISC website.
Article Type: News